It’s that time again! Another Rich Dad Education Symposium is just around the corner. And as Robert Kiyosaki says, “The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” This is an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who can unlock your earning potential. I always look forward to Symposiums because the conversations that are sparked by a group of individuals coming together from all walks of life yields powerful ideas that lead to lasting wealth. As you are getting ready to come to this or any other Symposium or networking event keep a few of the following things in mind:
Have your business cards ready! People are so intimidated by the idea of a business card. Perhaps we should call it a contact card, so as not to make it so scary. Who cares if you don’t have a business entity, the perfect logo, or a website? You might just be getting started. Not to worry, many other people at a Symposium are too; or they were in your shoes not so long ago! My point is you should have something with your contact information on it because as you talk to other people attending a Symposium they will inevitably ask for your business card.
I can’t tell you how often I hear, “Oh I just ran out!” Figure at any one Symposium there will be around two to four hundred people, so bring enough for at least a quarter of the attendees. Also, get one of those little detective size notepads for your purse or pocket. That’s for when you ask for someone’s card and they say, “I don’t have any.” Think what a super networker you’ll be when you are prepared to write down their contact information on something other than your lunch receipt that you disposed your gum in. Make sure that you get contact info from everyone that you meet.
As a side note, you can get business cards printed, on the spot, from most office supply stores. They are not expensive and you will look more professional.
Get out of your comfort zone! People often have a tendency to stick with their partners at any kind of networking event, including a Symposium. While I understand you decided to take the classes and perhaps even build your business together, you’re not utilizing your time to its full potential. If you split up, you can meet twice as many people. When your instructors give you group exercises, use that as an opportunity to make more contacts by going a different direction than your partner. I know it might be scary, but remember we don’t grow and build character if we are comfortable.
Know yourself and get to know the other person! Before a networking event spend some time thinking about what you want to tell people about what you do. Often called an elevator speech, this is how you would describe your investing focus in the time it would take to ride an elevator. Think about what you want to say so you can have a more targeted conversation with people. Are you looking for a deal, funding, or power team members? Be able to convey that message in a clear, concise way.
Now, don’t forget to find out about the person you are networking with. Ask open-ended questions to get them talking. Remember they might be just as uncomfortable as you are or even more so. It’s always helpful to move the conversation along with some questions that will show you have a genuine interest in the other person. Have a list of questions ready and memorized.
It’s not always about you! I always tell people to first look to help others, then yourself. So ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person be more successful?” Listen to their needs and offer to be of service whenever possible. It will come back to you in many ways. Sometimes it’s a deal or an introduction to someone else who will be a key player in the success of your business.
But sometimes it is about you! We all know people in our lives that become leaches. You know, the phone rings or the email comes across and you sigh and roll your eyes. That’s because you aren’t getting anything from the relationship. So ask yourself after you meet someone, “Is this someone who either now, or in the future, will be worth me maintaining a relationship with them?” We only have so many moments in a lifetime and we must be protective of our time. This is going to help you focus on the quality of your relationships. In Wholesale class people often ask, “How many investors do I need in my database before I can make offers on properties?” In reality, the answer is one. If that person buys every deal, you only need one quality investor. Focus on quality not on quantity no matter your investing focus.
Follow up and follow through! The number one place a networker fails is in not following up or following through. Always take time after a Symposium or other networking events to follow up with those that you met. Put your contacts into your database and immediately send a personal email. This will help establish a long term connection. People can’t send you great deals if they don’t remember you exist. That means you’ll have to keep following up with them on a regular basis. Put together an auto-responder campaign using REI Blackbook for a more hands-off approach to maintaining your network long-term.
And if you said you were going to do something, then do it. There is nothing more powerful than showing someone just how reliable you are when you do what you say you will. If you offered a contact for a hard money lender, then send it without having to be prompted. It speaks volumes to your character and makes you memorable.
So remember as you head to your next Symposium, have your business cards ready to go because I’ll be asking. Happy networking and see you soon!